How to save on health supplies

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Tips to get the health supplies you need and save on health needs

The rising costs of health care make it necessary to look for savings wherever they’re available. While doctor visits rarely go on sale, you can save on health expenses by seeking out discounts on medicine and other supplies.

According to a recent WebMD article, the price of medications has increased 8% every year since 1990. Fortunately, there are many safe ways to save money on health supplies, including everything from simple first aid needs to post surgical care, wound care and medical room equipment. Many of these tips are for both the insured and uninsured, but a few ought to involve a doctor’s consultation before you act. 

Way to save on health supplies

Before you begin, Parents magazine suggests taking a comprehensive inventory of all the medicines and health supplies you’re currently using. Bring this to your doctor and ask if you really need to take everything on the list. Find out if the dosage can be reduced or switch to generics. Brand name drugs can cost as much as three times the amount of generics even though they both contain the same active ingredients.

Medicine is sold by the pill not dosage. This means, for some drugs, you can buy higher-dosage pills and get nearly double the medicine for the same price you normally pay. Doing this requires your doctor to write a new prescription for twice the dosage. You’ll then need to cut each pill in half with a pill cutter and be diligent about only taking half.

Warning – Not all pills should be split. Many pills are coated for slow release, and cutting them could deliver a dangerous amount of medicine to your system at once. Another thing to keep in mind is that some pills will crumble into a powder when split. Others don’t have an even distribution of medicine so splitting means you could get more or less medicine than you need.

Mail order pharmacies tend to offer lower prices on bulk prescription drugs than brick and mortar counterparts.  Some also specialize in providing drugs to people without insurance if your income meets their guidelines. These pharmacies deliver medicine to your front door, and offer many name brands and generics. 

Purchasing health supplies from an online pharmacy is another option. Before you buy, the FDA warns to check for a few red flags that may indicate the company is not legitimate. Make sure the company is located in the United States and requires a prescription.  Because the FDA does not review or regulate imported drugs for safety, their potency and effectiveness is not assured. You could end up buying expired drugs or get a dosage that’s too high or low. 

Quick Tips

Low income prescription plans – Go to or Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) to review the hundreds of medication assistance programs available for free or at a reduced cost. NeedyMeds shares information about these different programs while PPA, financed by pharmaceutical companies, makes over 2,500 different drugs available to qualified people.

Samples - Ask your doctor for samples, especially if generics aren’t an option. Samples are often available for new medications so patients can see for themselves if the drug works before spending more than they want on a drug that may or may not work for them.

Discount Packages - Look into 30-day treatment packages on generic drugs at large pharmacies in stores like Target and Wal-mart. Sometimes treatments will go on sale for as low as $4 for a month’s supply.

For many, saving on health costs has become an understandable concern. In response to the growing need the FDA has expedited the review and approval process for generics, leading to hundreds of new, affordable drugs every year. Unlike other goods and services, most of these great deals won’t appear in a circular at your door step. You must seek them out, but many of them aren’t too hard to find.

Photo Credit: Bastet78

WebMD: Saving Money on Your Prescription Drugs

Parents: How to Save Money on Medicine

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